The best independent guide to Lisbon
The best independent guide to Lisbon
Lisbon is a bustling and vibrant city that offers many tranquil and relaxing parks and green areas.
Being based in central Lisbon can be very draining, with its relentless traffic and fast-paced atmosphere, and a trip to one of the many parks can provide a refreshing break from the hectic pace of the city.
The parks of Lisbon range from formal landscaped gardens through to peaceful shaded parks with lakes and picnic areas. Lisbon even has its own forest, the Florestal de Monsanto.
Many of the parks are outside of the city centre, and if you are new to the city they can be difficult to locate. This guide will detail the best parks, gardens and green areas within Lisbon.
Related articles: Lisbon viewpoints – Lisbon day trips
The best parks in Lisbon are:
1) Jardim da Estrela 2) Jardim da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian 3) Parque Eduardo VII 4) Jardim da Praça do Império 5) Florestal de Monsanto (Monsanto Forest) 6) Jardim do Príncipe Real
The Jardim da Estrela - A favourite with the Portuguese, offering shaded footpaths, duck ponds and picnic areas that overlook the Estrela Basilica. This park is highly recommended if you're new to Lisbon, as it is located at the end of the E28 tram route.
The Jardim Calouste Gulbenkian - A peaceful park with art exhibits and many shaded areas that surround the Calouste Gulbenkian museum. This is a great place to escape the crowds if you want to read, work, or simply relax.
The Parque Eduardo VII - A formal garden that leads up from the Baixa district to the wonderful viewpoint of Miradouro Parque Eduardo VII. Contained within the park are the Estufa Fria botanical gardens.
The Jardim da Praça do Império - Located in the heart of the Belem district, and overlooking the iconic buildings of the area, this formal garden includes water features and statues. The park is always busy, but the connected Jardim Vasco da Gama offers a calmer, grassed area.
The Florestal de Monsanto - Often referred to as the lungs of Lisbon, this sprawling forest extends over one of Lisbon's largest hills. This huge area includes scenic forest walks, picnic areas and family parks, but has some dodgy areas - with an abandoned tower, a notorious prison and a tough neighbourhood to the northwest.
The Jardim do Príncipe Real - A small but delightful park in the centre of Príncipe Real that is a favourite with locals.
The interactive map below shows the location of the best parks in Lisbon.
Legend : 1) Parque Eduardo VII 2) Jardim da Estrela 3) Jardim da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian 4) Jardim de São Pedro de Alcântara 5) Parque das Nações 6) Parque Florestal de Monsanto (Monsanto Forest) 7) Parque do Calhau 8) Parque do Alto da Serafina 9) Tapada das Necessidades 10) Parque da Bela Vista 11) Jardim do Torel 12) Jardim Botânico Tropical - Belem 13) Jardim Botânico- Principe Real
The following section details the best parks in Lisbon.
The Jardim da Estrela is one of the best parks of central Lisbon and is a fantastic location if you need some peace and calm. Estrela Park lies within the affluent Estrella district and faces the grand Basílica da Estrela.
Contained within the shaded park are meandering pathways, ancient trees, duck ponds, children's play areas, and kiosks serving drinks and food.
At only 4.6 hectares, the Jardim da Estrela is not large, but it is a favourite with locals and tourists alike who come here for picnics or to escape the heat of the inner city.
Tourist advice: Estrela Park is often combined with a ride on the E28 tram, and is the best location to exit the tram when heading eastwards.
Related articles: Tram 28 guide
The peaceful and shaded Jardim da Estrela
The Parque Eduardo VII is the park you are most likely to visit (or at least see) during your trip to Lisbon. This long park extends from the Marquis de Pombal plaza up the hill to the Miradouro Parque Eduardo VII. The park is named after the British King Edward VII, who visited Lisbon in 1902.
The Parque Eduardo VII should be regarded as a formal garden, with box hedges in the centre and calçada pathways (traditional cobbled streets) leading up the hill. The hidden gem of the park is the Estufa Fria (€3.10), a series of greenhouses that contain a diverse selection of tropical plants.
Tourist advice: The best way to travel to the Parque Eduardo VII is to ride the metro up to São Sebastião station. This metro exits at the top of the hill, close to the Miradouro Parque Eduardo VII, and from here it is a pleasant downhill walk to the Marquis de Pombal.
The view from the Miradouro Parque Eduardo VII looking down into central Lisbon
The Jardim da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian are the peaceful gardens that surround the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. This is one of the best outdoor places to read a book, study, or tap away on a laptop.
The gardens are filled with mature trees and artistic features, and the whole quiet setting is a draw for people who wish to work or study outdoors.
Related articles: Lisbon's best museums
The lush and cooling gardens of the Gulbenkian museum
The Parque das Nações is the ultra-modern side of Lisbon and was the site for Expo 1998. Contained within the area are water-themed exhibits, uniquely-styled gardens and riverside footpaths.
Parque das Nações is a great area of Lisbon for families, as located in the area are the outstanding Oceanário de Lisboa, the interactive Ciência Viva Science Museum and a cable car extending along the entire waterfront.
The Parque das Nações may not have an abundance of trees or green spaces, as with conventional parks, but it is a fantastic area of Lisbon where you can escape the clamour of the city.
Related articles: Parque das Nações
The Parque das Nações lines the Tejo estuary and the Torre Vasco da Gama is the tallest building in Lisbon
The colourful Lince Ibérico (Iberian Lynx) statue in
Monsanto Forest is often referred to as the lungs of Lisbon and is a sprawling forest that covers the Serra de Monsanto hills to the west of the city.
Monsanto is massive, and there are many different sections to it, with some significantly better than others.
The eastern and southern sides of the forest are the best parts to explore, and on these sides you will find the Parque Recreativo do Alto da Serafina and the Parque do Calhau. Within these areas are shaded footpaths that meander up the hill to the viewpoints of Miradouro do Moinho das Três Cruzes do Calhau and Miradouro do Alto da Serafina.
Monsanto is fantastic for children too, with an adventure park called Hello Park (https://hellopark.pt/), and the Parque da Pedra.
The central and western sections are much less cared for and are downright dodgy in certain areas. Avoid the highest point of the hills at the centre of the forest, as this is the location of Portugal's maximum-security prison.
Insight: If you want scenic hiking trails through stunning forests, head to the Serra de Sintra or the Serra da Arrábida, both of which are better than the Florestal de Monsanto.
The hiking and forest trails through the Florestal de Monsanto
The Jardim do Torel is one of the best small parks of central Lisbon, but its location means it is often missed by visitors.
The park sits at the top of the hill between two valleys, along which the two main avenues follow (Avenida da Liberdade and the Avenida Almirante Reis).
From the high point of Torel Park are wonderful views over central Lisbon, and it has a much calmer atmosphere than other viewpoints. The only downside is that the park is closed after 8pm.
The Jardim do Torel with its viewpoint over the Avenida da Liberdade.
The Tapada das Necessidades is a hidden and almost forgotten park of Lisbon - if you want solitude and calm, this is the park to head to. The only trade-off with this peacefulness is that the park is a bit neglected, almost as though the council of Lisbon has forgotten of its existence too.
Even the main entrance to the park is difficult to find, with a hidden gate next to the Palácio das Necessidades.
The peaceful Tapada das Necessidades park
The impressive Palácio das Necessidades contains government offices and is not open to the public
The Jardim de São Pedro de Alcântara is a small, formal garden - but its main appeal is the fantastic view over the historic centre of Lisbon and the castle. The garden is a lively location, with artists’ stalls, performers and a traditional kiosk selling drinks and food.
The wonderful view from the Jardim de São Pedro de Alcântara
The Jardim do Príncipe Real lies at the heart of the Príncipe Real district. This is a calm and relaxing garden, which is a favourite with locals who come to sit at one of the kiosks or under the shade of the huge Juniper tree. Beneath the park is one of the old reservoirs of Lisbon, while on Saturdays, an organic market is hosted here, the Mercado Biológico do Principe Real.
The ancient Juniper tree at the centre of the Jardim do Príncipe Real
The Parque da Bela Vista is a large, grassed area, which despite being one of the biggest parks in Lisbon is of little interest to tourists. The park hosts the music festival ‘Rock in Rio’.
The Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles is a newly-constructed park with a focus on biodiversity and minimal human interference. The park is also the location of the Arco de São Bento.
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